Sainsbury’s shows failure brilliantly

The show, I’m running Sainsbury’s teaches retailers a valuable lesson. Several in fact: it was a great marketing ploy, a very good HR tactic, and it also showed the value of failing.

justin-kingIn seeking new ideas, Sainsbury’s Chief Exec., Justin King (see right), canvassed his entire team for the next big idea – that’s 150,000+ employees. We didn’t get to see how many reached final consideration, but the few Ch4 followed contained failures.

You got the impression from the Sainsbury’s big wigs that this was all part of their proficient DNA. Consider, canvass opinion, prototype, test, roll out slowly, emergency stop if necessary. Understandably, the smallest percentage of ‘big ideas’ mature through this process.

The Kings, Sugars and Bransons of the world would say failure is a necessary evil in businesses big and small. If you launch ten projects then it’s extremely unlikely that all ten will float along successfully. Therefore, for the realists, it becomes a question of how quickly you appreciate it’s a lost cause and just what you do about it.

Michael Jordan said: I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot… and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why… I succeed.

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